Monday, April 7, 2014

Making the Cut


Writing my story

I love writing to the rhythm of a spring rain.  Sitting in my bedroom, the pitter-patter of raindrops on the roof place a spell over my pen.  To the April music, I finished my ghostly short story for Moon Shadows, a +Laurel Highlands Publishing Halloween anthology.

The Hunt clocked roughly a thousand words heavy of the 5,000 word upper limit.  It was time to cull my pretties.

When I write, I fall in love with each and every word.  I choose them carefully.  I string them together with precision.  How can I possibly eliminate one word, let alone whole lines or *gasp* entire scenes?

Brutally.

Although pressing the delete key pains me, sentences shortened.  Mind you, tightening of the story would happen during editing anyway.  However, a few words here and there do not lighten the word load.

I pruned two scenes.  As lovely as they were, they had to go.  The deleted scenes setup for a sequel to the Hunt, but they were not essential to plot advancement.  I will use those scenes as flashbacks in the sequel.

By the end of the Hunt, I slashed well over five hundred words.  It reads like a lean, mean hunting machine.

Shaving a story is more than stabbing in the dark.  Annihilation is deliberate.  Just as there is a rhythm to writing, there is a rhythm to the slaughter called editing.  How will you make the cut?

3 comments:

  1. I shall make my cuts, painfully, yet with precision. Editing is a brutal, savage, yet necessary evil of the writing process. Cut with care.

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  2. I'm glad I'm not the only one that has trouble cutting material to meet the word limits set by competitions. I think my entry to this contest came in at about 800 words over, at first, and then got cut down to around 300 under.
    It felt really brutal having to cut so much, and I actually cried at having to lose almost the entire opening scene. Then I read back through the story, and realized that I'd done the right thing, because I had started the story too far back from the initial action. Those cuts felt like a gamble, but turned out to be the right thing to do.
    I know I'm going to be reading 'The Hunt' with interest, wondering what got cut :D

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    Replies
    1. You'll never find out! Muhahahahaha *ahem* Sorry, battle scene crafting spillover.

      Cutting scenes you really liked hurts. That's why authors need editors. They have no deep, emotional attachments to our words, thus making it easier to perform scenicide.

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